The Unexpected Death - Gordon Conwell

The Unexpected Death

Holy Saturday Devotional

Dr. Richard Lints, Senior Distinguished Professor of Theology


Reading: John 14:25-31

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

“Come now; let us leave.”


Change is rarely ever easy. Most of us do not realize the emotional toll of significant life changes. Greater yet is the emotional cost of unexpected and particularly unwelcome change. The sudden death of a loved one exacts enormous emotional cost. When a life is cut short, emotional resources run dry. Recovery is threatened by relentless, stinging memories.

Transporting ourselves into the narrative of this passage, we feel this precise dynamic at work with twelve folk who gave up everything to follow a person they believed would change their nation. Suddenly, they came face to face with the reality that he would soon be killed. Their whole world seemed to be shattering right before their eyes. They could not possibly imagine recovering. Death was not a reality for which they were prepared.

Maybe you have experienced tragedy in your own life, and can no longer imagine how life might make sense, nor that God could speak into your heart. If we see this story through to its end, we discover hope at the point of greatest despair.

The greater reality is that death itself is defeated in the death of Jesus. The grave is not final, which means life has significance on the other side of tragedy. Herein lies true hope. If you do nothing else today, please take a moment to ponder the unexpected death of Jesus as the window to see your life from God’s perspective. Jesus’ death has put to death your death, and assures us that eternity has broken into time. As a friend of mine says to me–you think about that.

Dr. Richard Lints, has been with Gordon-Conwell since 1986. He is Senior Distinguished Professor of Theology, and his expertise includes apologetics, theology, and just war.